Smart About Money: The “right way” to pay your bills today …

Nick Maffeo

Someone posted recently on a financial discussion forum asking about what people thought were “best practices” for paying their household bills.

The responses were all over the place.

The wide variety of methods for handling this common task was actually quite impressive. Technology has given people so many different ways to monitor and manage their bill-paying today.

But – from that forum discussion – it was easy to get the impression that many people are 100% convinced that their way of paying bills is the best way, the safe way and the only right way. That is certainly not the case.

High-tech or low-tech, the “right way” to pay your bills is to do what you sense is right for you, regardless of routines other people swear by.

No matter how you’re paying your bills, there are three factors that need to be carefully considered:

First, is your method working for you? Are you comfortable with it? Does it take what you consider to be a reasonable amount of time? Are your bills paid on time so you avoid late fees and penalty interest rates?

Second, are you prepared to monitor your accounts and keep your devices safe? Whatever your preferred schedule – hourly, daily, weekly, monthly – it’s critically important that you review your bank account and credit card statements in a timely manner.

Some people can do that on the fly on their phones. If you can, great! If you prefer a computer or pen & paper, that’s fine too. You get to pick your monitoring routine of choice – as long as you are monitoring on a regular basis.

One young man on that forum wanted his mother to start paying her bills on her smart phone. His mother was resistant. She said her phone screen was “too small” to see the bills on. She worried about her phone being hacked.

The fact is that every system has its vulnerabilities. After all, thieves have stolen checks from people’s homes. Online banking and mobile banking are amazing and safe technologies that many customers use and love. But knowing for sure that you like paying bills online matters. Being committed to diligently securing your online accounts and devices is absolutely essential for online banking and mobile banking.

And third, are you missing out on some “new way” that might be great for you? Maybe there’s something you could be doing that would make your bill-paying more convenient. But it might mean a bit of a change or a bit of a learning curve. It could take some time to get it set up and working seamlessly.

If you’re curious about a new idea, you’ll do yourself a service to learn about it. You can take it slow and experiment to see what you think.

The implication is always that people will be moving from a lower-tech method to something more high-tech. While that is often the case, sometimes an individual finds it works better for them to take their household bill-paying off their phone (for example) so they can concentrate on it in a different way.

Paying bills on time is the cornerstone a person’s financial life. Your credit score is significantly based on that. If you have questions or you want to know if you could be doing something differently, speak to your banker about your options. There are many!

From the “Smart About Money” Canton Citizen column published September 7 2023.
Nick Maffeo is the President & CEO of Canton Co-operative Bank – right next to the Post Office – in Canton.
Have a question? Email to

Previous Post
Protecting yourself from check-washing scams …
Next Post
“Good Ideas!” e-Newsletter September 2023 – Mobile Banking app update, free HomeBuyer Info Session and more!

Accessibility Toolbar